Here's a question for you: what do you reckon is Meta's "most requested feature" on its roadmap to the VR revolution, according to Mark Zuckerberg? Avatars without the cold, dead eyes of a killer (opens in new tab)? Rehiring Meta's fired ethics team (opens in new tab)? A point?
Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. At yesterday's Meta Connect event, when Mark Zuckerberg took to the stage in the form of his digital double—an avatar that does, in fairness, look better than the one from his August selfie (opens in new tab)—he revealed that the people have apparently been clamouring for one thing and one thing only: legs.
Legs are coming soon! Are you excited? 🎉 pic.twitter.com/SB6qSepKm4October 11, 2022
Meta's Horizon avatars will become bipedal at some point later next year, as part of a big update that will make everyone's avatar as pretty as the one Zuckerberg was using yesterday. For now, though, those of us outside of the Meta C-suite are stuck with the legless avatars of old, watching Zuckerberg twirl and cavort on stage while all we have is our stupid arms and hands.
It's taken this long for Meta to conquer the lower 50% of the human body because, Zuckerberg says, legs are tough for standalone VR headsets to figure out. In his presentation, Zuckerberg gave the example of sitting with your legs under a desk (which I can't wait to do in a completely virtual world with limitless imaginative potential): once they're out of sight, the headset doesn't know what they're up to. So, Meta says it needs to build an AI model to predict what the heck your legs are doing under there.
The entire announcement had an air of unreality to it, which isn't out of character for Meta (opens in new tab). And just like with Zuckerberg's selfie from a couple of months ago, the internet has wasted no time memeing on the inherent weirdness of dedicating a chunk of your $300-billion company's (opens in new tab) press event to announcing legs.
the rapid innovation in the virtual reality space has gotten to “the avatars have legs now”https://t.co/IJiYA5uaM0October 11, 2022
the people in the background here do not have legs. are metalegs only granted at a certain level of seniority. are legs a right or a privilege, mark https://t.co/RyYxsG0HGYOctober 12, 2022
https://t.co/bijuoe6KkP pic.twitter.com/0DczEBRhkdOctober 12, 2022
[looking down at my lap]Me: [chanting] legs, legs-My friends who wear pants: legs, LEGSMy groupchat with Mark Zuckerberg: [slamming the table]: LEGS, LEGS, LEGS, LEGGGGGGGGS!!!!! pic.twitter.com/Qtane9tvTNOctober 11, 2022
To be fair to old Zuck, Meta Connect wasn't 100% all-legs all the time, although that would have been a lot funnier. The company also took the opportunity to unveil the Meta Quest Pro (opens in new tab), a $1,500 VR headset notionally designed for high-powered corporate types, but that we just want to use to play games. Maybe the painful price tag is to cover the cost of all that intensive leg R&D.